The heart and lungs are responsible for sending oxygen to the tissues. The heart receives the oxygenated blood from the lungs and pumps the blood to all body parts. This oxygen-rich blood then nourishes each cell and oxygen-depleted blood is collected to and pumped back to the lungs.
Your heart and lungs are the most important vital organs, and it’s time to start taking better care of them.
However, most people don’t normally take care of them until it doesn’t work right.
Healthy habits reduce the risk of heart disease. However, this depends on how you adjust your daily habits. The small steps you take can make the difference in reducing heart diseases.
Some tips and activities to have healthy heart
Eat healthy and balanced diet
It’s not necessary to give up flours, fried foods, and sugars forever or switch to a vegetarian diet. However, you need to include heart healthy foods that you can eat regularly.
Avoid eating excess amounts of saturated fats and processed foods since they increase risks of heart problems.
Eating less salt and red meat is very important. Adding more vegetables & fruits to your diet is very important. Eating more legumes, nuts, and whole grain should be a priority. They not only help your heart stay healthy, but they also help your immunity and overall quality of life.
Eat less and control portion size
Eating the right amount of food is just as important as what you eat. Overeating takes seconds and eating until you are full can lead to eating more calories than you need. Restaurants serves bigger portions than you need.
Following a few simple tips to control food portion size:
- Use a smaller plate to control your portions.
- Eat low-calorie nutrient-rich foods like vegetables and protein.
- Eat smaller amounts of refined, processed or fast foods.
- Keep track of the number of servings you eat.
- A serving size is a specific amount of food, defined by common measurements such as cups, ounces or pieces.
- Use measuring tools to optimally calculate the calories.
Being sedentary is one of the main causes of coronary heart disease and being active is a major step toward a healthy heart. If you are active in sports and exercise it brings you many benefits. Exercising regularly can reduce weight, reduce blood pressure and cholesterol and prevent diabetes.
Here’s how different types of exercise help you in your goal towards a healthy heart.
Aerobic exercise improves blood circulation, which reduces blood pressure and heart rate. In addition, it increases your overall fitness and burns tons of calories. Aerobics helps you maintain healthy weight and reduces type 2 diabetes. If you have diabetes, it helps you manage blood glucose.
Running, brisk walking, swimming, cycling, and dancing are good aerobic activities. Heart-pumping aerobic exercise is the best way to reduce heart diseases.
Resistance training helps people with big belly, which is a big risk for heart diseases. Research found that combining aerobic exercise and resistance work raise good cholesterol and lower bad cholesterol.
Squat, Deadlift or Bench Press are the three most important exercises that give you a huge pump.
8-10 reps of each set and do 3-4 sets targeting muscles.
Stay hydrated and eat carbohydrates and protein after exercise for recovery.
Stretching for flexibility
Stretching exercise may not contribute directly to heart health. Stretching benefits you to stay flexible and free from joint pain, cramping and other muscles. Flexibility is critical to perform better aerobic exercise and resistance training. Flexibility helps you relieve pain, which can reduce injuries.
Some people are more prone to stress. Stress is detrimental to health since it may lead to high blood pressure, which increases risk of heart attack and stroke. Stress also may cause you to indulge in smoking and overeating contributing to obesity and diabetes.
Reduce stress by:
- Regular exercise.
- Sleep well.
- Have a positive outlook towards life.
- Take a break from stressful situations.
- Listen to relaxing music.
- Eat a balanced diet.
- Avoid stress triggers
Don’t smoke or drink alcohol
Tobacco is a dangerous substance responsible for different types of cancer. Smoking cigarettes increases the possibilities of thrombosis that reduces your blood flow.
Drinking excessive alcohol can lead to hypertension, heart failure and stroke. Excessive drinking can also cause cardiomyopathy. It is a disease of the heart that makes it difficult for your heart to pump blood and can lead to heart failure.
How to avoid to become alcoholic:
- Avoid alcohol on an empty stomach
- Drink alcohol slowly and don’t binge drink
- Tell your friends and family about your plan of quitting alcohol.
- Refuse alcoholic drinks when socialising.
- Never stock alcohol at home.
- Avoid drinking upset.
- The options are nicotine in a nasal spray or inhaler and nicotine patches, gum and lozenges. Short-acting nicotine replacement therapies will help you overcome smoke cravings.
- Urges for tobacco are strongest when you smoke such as at parties or bars, or when feeling stressed. Identify your trigger situations and avoid them. If you have friends who smoke then avoid them since it’s a deal breaker.
- Give your mouth some other tasks to fight a smoke craving. Chew on sugarless gum or chew carrots or nuts.
- Physical activity can help distract you from smoke cravings. Even a small amount of physical activity can help you.
- Smoking may be your way to deal with stressful situations. Practicing relaxation techniques, such as deep-breathing , yoga, massage or listening to music will help you fight stress and reduce craving for tobacco.
Get enough sleep
It is estimated that 7 to 9 hours of sleep as an adult is necessary to function properly. Having a good sleeping habits benefits your heart.
Let’s see how you can ensure good sleep:
- Go to bed and get up at the same time every day. Being consistent reinforces your body’s sleep-wake cycle.
- Avoid heavy or large meals before you sleep and don’t sleep hungry. Avoid Nicotine, caffeine and alcohol. They can disturb sleep and reduce the quality of sleep.
- Create a cool, dark and quiet room for good sleep. Avoid light-emitting screens like mobile and TV and maintain comfortable room temperature.
- Getting a small daytime nap is good but avoid more than an hour of sleep during the day.
- Regular physical activity and exercise help you sleep better. Spending time outside will help you get good sleep.
- Manage your worries and reduce any thing which is causing you stress. Don’t work late at night; it may create habits and wreak havoc to your sleep pattern.
How to keep your lungs healthy
We often don’t give lungs the credit it plays in keeping us healthy and well. Most people realize often too late until they start to have problems breathing. Similar to the rest of your body, your lungs also need care and attention to perform optimally.
Breathing provides oxygen to every tissue in the body. Without sufficient oxygen all the vital organs cease to perform and you are more prone to health problems, including respiratory diseases, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and even heart disease.
If your lungs have problems you may experience one or more of the following symptoms:
- Shortness of breath while doing daily activities.
- Difficulty breathing
- Wheezing during exercise.
- Cough associated with exercising
- Pain in the path of airways.
Since a regular sedentary lifestyle doesn’t help you use your lungs to full capacity, you need to challenge the lungs with vigorous activity. Toxins, allergens, dust and pollutants in the environment can damage your lungs so taking care of lungs is important.
Some activities and tips that can improve the lung functioning:
One of the simplest ways to get your lungs healthy is diaphragmatic breathing and deep breathing.
These techniques are specifically helpful if you are experiencing lung problems caused by asthma and chronic bronchitis. Even healthy people can also reap benefits of making lungs healthy following these techniques.
- Diaphragmatic breathing techniques are done by concentrating on lowering the diaphragm as you breathe in, you’ll get a much deeper inhale.
- Deep breathing can help you use your lungs’ full capacity. As you inhale slowly, expand your stomach and lower the diaphragm. then expand your ribs and allow the upper chest to expand and lift. After this, exhale completely by contracting the ribs and bring the stomach muscles in and expel the last bit of air.
- You can increase your lung capacity by increasing the length of your breath. Count your natural breath and if it takes count of 6 to inhale and exhale. You need to make both inhale and exhale of equal length. Once you discover your average breath count, add one more count to each inhale and exhale. Avoid straining and increase the count gradually. This increase of count can drastically improve your lung capacity.
You already know the fact that smoking causes lung cancer. It’s not the only disease caused by smoke, in fact, smoking causes most lung diseases that include COPD and asthma. Smoking is responsible for causing more severe damage leading to death from COPD.
When you smoke you ingest thousands of chemicals into your lungs, that includes nicotine, carbon monoxide, and tar. These toxic chemicals damage your body and lungs. Smoking regularly impairs your lungs to clean themselves, and causes inflammation in tissues. Gradually making it more difficult to breathe leading to severe problems.
Smoking causes your lungs to age quickly and chemicals change your lung cells from normal to cancerous.
Smoking is responsible for more than 90 percent of all lung cancer deaths as per CDC. More women die from lung cancer than from breast cancer.
Exercise to breathe harder
Getting regular exercise is one of the best things you can do for the health of your lungs. Exercise not only keeps your body in shape, it keeps your lungs performing better and healthier.
When you do vigorous exercise, your heart pumps faster and your lungs do more breathing. Since your body needs a higher amount of oxygen to fuel your body. Your lungs step up their performance to deliver that more oxygen while expelling carbon dioxide.
During exercise and aerobics, your breathing increases 2-4 times more than normal activity. That’s why it’s important to regularly do aerobic exercise since it provides the best workout for your lungs. The more you exercise, the more powerful your lungs become. Making your lungs strong and healthy by exercise helps you resist ageing and disease related problems to lungs. Even if you do develop lung disease, exercise not only helps its slow progression but also keeps you active longer.
Inhaling polluted air can damage your lungs and accelerate ageing effects. When you are young your lungs can resist these toxins. However as you get older, your lungs may lose effectiveness and your risk of infections and disease increase.
Reduce exposure to your lungs by following tips:
- Avoid secondhand smoke.
- Avoid going outside during peak air pollution times.
- Avoid going near heavy traffic, since you can inhale the polluted air.
- If you are exposed to pollutants at work, take all possible safety precautions. Jobs in construction, mining, and waste management can increase risk pollutants.
Study found that indoor pollution is worse than outdoor pollution. Since most people spend their time indoors, it’s important to reduce pollution indoors.
Tips for reducing indoor pollutants:
- Your home should be a smoke-free zone.
- Dust the furniture and vacuum regularly.
- Open a window frequently to get fresh air.
- Replace synthetic air fresheners with an aromatherapy diffuser and essential oils.
- Keep your home neat and clean to avoid moulds, dust, and pet dander as they can cause allergies.
- Use natural cleaning products.
- Make sure you fan exhaust hoods to get proper ventilation.
Infections are dangerous for your lungs, and if you have lung diseases like COPD, the severity of infections. Even healthy people can also easily develop pneumonia if they’re not careful.
The best way to avoid lung infections is to wash hands regularly with warm water and soap, also avoid touching your face.
Boost immunity by hydrating properly and eating a balanced diet to get nutrients. Vaccination for flu and pneumonia is recommended to avoid health problems.
Healthy heart and lungs are the foundation of a healthy body. Since both organs are vital for survival, problems in any one of them can severely impact health and well being. Exercise, a healthy diet, and avoiding smoke are crucial for healthy lungs and heart.